TAMPA, Fla. — A local Tampa Bay Uber driver has blown the whistle on how other drivers have been creating artificial shortages in an attempt to turn on surge pricing for riders.

Dustin Nicol has been driving for Uber for a little over three years and also has a popular YouTube channel where he posts videos on issues that affect rideshare drivers. That’s where he called out his fellow drivers, saying not only were they wrong to do it, but also saying they weren’t smart telling news reporters about it.

“Rule number one: we don’t talk about Surge Club,” Nicol said in the video. “Yes, people have been doing this for a long, long time, but c’mon now, if you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, you don’t go tell the world about it.”

“I tell drivers all the time, 'Don’t do this. If you do it, they will find out, you will get deactivated.' So, it’s not worth it, in the long run, to try and make some money on the short run,” Nicol told 10News. “You should know to use your common sense and not do this for the simple fact of, it’s wrong, you’re going to get deactivated if you get caught doing this.”

Here’s how it works: rideshare drivers in one area all agree to turn the app off at the same time, creating a shortage of drivers in that area. That forces surge pricing in the area to turn on, then the drivers turn their apps back on and pick up riders who are being charged surge prices.

“Everyone has been aware,” added Nicol. “It’s been around since before I even started driving, so it’s been a thing for a long time and they’ve made different ways to stop drivers from doing that, but technically, I always say drivers shouldn’t be doing it to begin with.”

In a statement emailed to 10News, a spokesperson for Uber said, “At Uber, we work to ensure the reliability of our service for our riders and drivers. This behavior is neither widespread or permissible on the Uber platform, and we have technical safeguards in place to help prevent it from happening.”

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